New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the deaths and the collapse, in comments to reporters, while Australia tries to deal with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large strip of destruction.
“The only thing I have from the field reports is that the plane fell, crashed and there was a large fireball associated with that accident,” Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters.
He said the three on board were American residents.
“Unfortunately, all we have been able to do is locate the remains and the location of the accident and we have not been able to locate any survivors,” he said.
Berejiklian said there were more than 1,700 volunteers and staff in the field and that five fires were described at an “emergency warning level.”
The fire started on Wednesday, but high winds and high temperatures caused conditions in Canberra to deteriorate.
A second fire near the airport that started on Thursday morning is at the “monitor and act” level.
“Arrivals and departures are affected due to aviation firefighting operations,” the airport authority said in a tweet.
Another tweet from the traffic police said “the fire is moving rapidly and there are several road closures in the area.” Please avoid the area. Local road blocks in place.
Residents in some suburbs of Canberra were advised to seek shelter and others to leave immediately.
“The defense force is helping to some extent and looking for if that needs to be reinforced,” Defense Minister Angus Campbell told reporters.
“I have people who are involved as people who need to be moved from areas and office buildings that are potentially in danger, and also those who are part of the Bushfire Assist Operation effort,” he said.
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